A fast-rising poultry firm is out to recruit farmers a programme that will see them get connected to direct markets for indigenous chicken, commonly called kuku kienyeji.
Homerange Poultry Kenya will on January 16, hold a training session for 80 farmers, who will be then inducted into a programme that will see them get guaranteed markets for their animals and eggs.
The company's Chief Executive Officer Ian Mutwiri said the demand for kienyeji chicken in the country has been at a peak almost all-year-round and the available supply is "stressed beyond limits".
Because of the increased demand, Mutwiri said, middlemen have taken advantage of the situation to exploit those who prefer kuku kienyeji to broilers.
A chicken that is worth KSh600 and KSh800 ends up costing KSh1,000 or more because of the hungry middlemen, Mutwiri said, making buyers avoid them.
"Callous cartels have created a false impression that kuku kienyeji are on demand during festive seasons only. They have arrested the Kenyan minds with this notion to justify their extortion."
"One kienyeji egg requires about KSh5 to produce, while a chicken will take up around KSh350 before maturity. If we have multiple outlets, we can comfortably sell an egg at KSh10 against the current market rate KSh20, which then allows us to compete with the exotic- egg market," the CEO told FarmbizAfrica on telephone.
Mutwiri said that big hotels in the country have reached out to Homerange looking for regular supplies of kuku kieneyeji.
“The few farmers on our database are not satisfying the demand, and we must increase the supply chain to feed this appetite," he said.
Mutwiri said the kuku kienyeji business has to be commercialised just like the broilers business, to ensure there is enough supply of meat and eggs.
After the training, Homerange will visit each farmer on the programme to guide them on the set up. The visit will also ensure that the company can always meet quality demands of its clients.
In addition to giving the farmers advisory support in the production, Mutwiri said his company will link them with ready markets and ensure they fetch the best prices for their produce.
“Alternatively, Homerange could buy the chicken at an average price of KSh650 and sell them to high-end customers at KSh850,” he said.
The one-day training costs Sh3,500 per person at Kiambu's Ruaraka town.
Homerange is riding on a market that is fast-rising as lifestyle diseases drive people away from broiler breeds, which are stimulated to grow fast.
"One cannot compare the taste of kienyeji with that of broilers; the nutritional value of the local chicken breed is also quite high. We just need to make the chicken affordable, so that they can compete with broiler supplies," he said.
Homerange currently has 2780 chicken, from which they breed and supply chicks to various farmers. In addition, it trains them on the best poultry husbandry in addition to publishing reading material for enhancing productivity.
Interested farmers can call Homerange through +254 727 200 116 or +254 714 571 048